Robert Whittaker Defeats Yoel Romero Via Unanimous Decision at UFC 213

UFC 213 saw a new No. 1 contender rise to the top in the middleweight division as Robert Whittaker claimed the interim belt with a unanimous-decision win over Yoel Romero in the surprise main event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. 
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UFC 213 saw a new No. 1 contender rise to the top in the middleweight division as Robert Whittaker claimed the interim belt with a unanimous-decision win over Yoel Romero in the surprise main event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. 

MMAjunkie tweeted out the judges’ scorecards:

The first round served as a preview for why this was a tantalizing matchup. Both fighters attacked in bursts, with Whittaker landing quick combinations with his hands. Romero attacked with vicious kicks to the legs and body, connecting on a front kick to Whittaker’s left knee that appeared to have an impact on his movement. 

The Cuban landed a takedown, but Whittaker bounced back up. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani scored the round for Romero but was impressed by the Australian’s defense. 

Romero would once again put Bobby Knuckles’ takedown defense to the test in Round 2. He scored an early takedown and spent the opening minutes of the round wearing down Whittaker with ground-and-pound. 

Even when Whittaker worked his way to the feet, Romero was quick to smother him in the clinch. Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting gave Whittaker credit for hanging tough despite an apparent leg injury through the first two rounds:

Hanging tough would pay dividends for Whittaker in the third. As Romero slowed, Bobby Knuckles found a rhythm and made his mark on the fight with pressure of his own. The UFC tweeted out some of the highlights from the round:

 

UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping also took the round break to tear up a Cuban flag and throw it in Romero’s direction:

Whittaker’s defensive wrestling and striking once again carried the day as he stunned Romero more than once in the round and fended off the takedowns to provide a winner-take-all round in the fifth frame:

The final round featured a bloody, exhausted barroom brawl in which both fighters heaved what they had left. However, an ill-fated punch that caused Romero to slip was the death knell. Whittaker pounced on top of the Cuban to win the round and the fight. 

UFC 213’s main event was supposed to be a women’s bantamweight title bout between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, but Nunes pulled out of the fight hours before the card started, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. 

A bout that now has the ability to spark the middleweight division back into relevancy wasn’t a bad replacement main event. 

The Bisping era has left the 185-pound division forgotten recently. The 38-year-old champion has taken his time between defenses and dealt with a knee injury that has put the entire division on hold. 

The wait for a unification fight shouldn’t be much longer, though. Bisping has been holding out for a potential date with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre, but it’s looking like he’ll have to settle for the winner of Saturday’s bout. 

Bobby Knuckles has what it takes to revitalize a division that has been lying dormant. The 26-year-old has been on an absolute tear of late. Romero joins a list of opponents that counts Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson among those who couldn’t withstand the new interim champion’s hands. 

At this point, with the interim title around Whittaker’s waist and an eight-fight win streak to his name, even Bisping acknowledges he can’t wait around for GSP anymore. 

“Georges, you’ve got until Saturday,” Bisping told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (via FanSided’s Mike Heck). “Because on Saturday, I’m going to be on the FS1 post-fight show and one of those two, tune in, Whittaker or Romero will be joining me at the desk, so you know that will have fireworks. If I can’t say I’m fighting GSP by then, then I have to say that I’m fighting Whittaker or Romero.”

Now that the fight has taken place, Bisping has his answer. 

The next man up is Whittaker, and after taming Romero, the Australian looks like he’ll add Bisping to his list of victims and become the next UFC champion. 

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

UFC 213 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2

For over a year, Amanda Nunes has had to hear questions about fading against Valentina Shevchenko in their March 2016 fight—even after taking the belt from Miesha Tate with a first-round finish in her next fight.
Questions persist about what Nune…

For over a year, Amanda Nunes has had to hear questions about fading against Valentina Shevchenko in their March 2016 fight—even after taking the belt from Miesha Tate with a first-round finish in her next fight.

Questions persist about what Nunes can do when a fight gets out of the first round. Even after demolishing Ronda Rousey in under a minute, the attention shifted to the third round of her fight with Shevchenko.

That’s what makes the main event of UFC 213 so intriguing.

Nunes has taken over as the most dominant force in the women’s bantamweight division. She’s won five fights in a row, with four of those wins coming in the first round. She even won the fight against Shevchenko via decision, but the biggest question she must answer as a champion is what she’ll look like in the championship rounds.

Shevchenko might just be the fighter to give us the answer to that question.

It’s a strong main event for a fun card set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Here’s a look at the rest of the card along with the latest odds from OddsShark and predictions for the biggest fights.

       

Main Card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)

  • Amanda Nunes (-110) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (-120) (for Women’s Bantamweight Title)
  • Yoel Romero (-105) vs. Robert Whittaker (-125) (for Interim Middleweight Title)
  • Curtis Blaydes (-700) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (+450)
  • Alistair Overeem (-130) vs. Fabricio Werdum (EVEN)
  • Anthony Pettis (-250) vs. Jim Miller (+195)

Prelims (Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET)

  • Travis Browne (-235) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+185)
  • Chad Laprise (-600) vs. Brian Camozzi (+400)
  • Thiago Santos (-160) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+140)
  • Belal Muhammad (-150) vs. Jordan Mein (+120)

Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Rob Font (-325) vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade (+250)
  • Cody Stamann (-275) vs. Terrion Ware (+215)
  • Trevin Giles (-305) vs. James Bochnovic (+235)

      

Predictions

Jim Miller over Anthony Pettis

Anthony Pettis returns to the lightweight division where he was once champion in desperate need of a win. Showtime has lost four of his last five fights, including three at 155 pounds where he once held the belt.

Pettis once ruled the division with his lethal and versatile striking at range. Rafael dos Anjos destroyed the aura of invincibility that he once had by applying constant pressure, closing the distance and blasting the champion from close range.

It’s been the recipe for shutting down Pettis ever since.

Pettis tried dipping down to 145 pounds in hopes that smaller opponents would mean less grinding, but after getting TKO’d by Max Holloway in an interim title fight, he’s back to 155 pounds and actually decided to focus less on his wrestling.

“Wrestling is a big part of the sport,” Pettis said, per Fernanda Prates of MMAjunkie. “But if you look at it, I’m not gonna catch up to this guys. I’m not going to catch up to a Clay Guida in wrestling, and they’re not going to catch up to me in striking. So I’ve got to go out there and make sure that my striking is OK for the fight and not get caught up on the who’s on top and who’s doing the takedowns.”

It’s clear that Showtime is the better striker. Miller only has four wins by knockout in his 12-year career, but he is among the best grapplers in the lightweight division and could spell trouble for Pettis if he’s able to close the distance.

Expect Miller to be all over Pettis and ruin his return to lightweight by submission or decision.

      

Yoel Romero over Robert Whittaker

The middleweight interim title fight might just be the best on this card, as Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker truly represent two of the hottest fighters in the middleweight division.

For a division that has Michael Bisping as champion and no return date for an actual title fight, this is the best it gets at 185 pounds right now.

It’s hard to pick against Whittaker. The 26-year-old has brutalized his way to the top of the division. He’s on a seven-fight win streak highlighted by knockout wins over Derek Brunson and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.

But Romero is a slightly different beast. Even Whittaker will admit that.

“I want to be known as one of the best fighters ever,” Whittaker said, per Will Swanton of The Australian. “So in order to walk that path I need to fight the toughest and baddest dudes in the world. More than anything this week, more than that shiny belt at the end of it, I get the chance to fight Yoel Romero. He’s such a tough dude. I’m in this game to fight hard dudes.”

Where Brunson had the power on the feet and Souza had the slick submission game, Romero is a threat to end this fight on the feet or on the mat at any point. Whittaker has the power to turn this prediction on its head, but Romero has more ways to win the fight.

The stand-up exchanges in this fight should be fun. Whittaker’s vicious combinations set up an interesting contrast to Romero’s explosive one-punch power, but if/when Romero is able to get this to the ground, the talent disparity will show.

That should be the difference as Romero secures a TKO via ground-and-pound.

       

Valentina Shevchenko over Amanda Nunes

As previously described, this fight comes down to what Nunes can get done in the first round and what is left of Shevchenko if and when this fight gets to the third round and beyond.

Nunes’ pressure game is hard to beat. She’s so long for the division and attacks with combinations that make it hard to get away without getting hit by at least one of her strikes.

But Shevchenko’s ability to pivot and counter could be the difference. Shevchenko has an impressive kickboxing and muay thai record that demonstrates her technical abilities in the stand-up department.

It isn’t just Shevchenko’s elite level striking, though. She’s also proved to be an adept grappler. She has secured multiple takedowns in each of her UFC fights except her loss to Nunes, per Fight Metric, so she could be looking to either utilize an early takedown to quiet Nunes’ early rush or take down a tired Nunes in the later rounds to do her damage that way.

Regardless, the chances are that we will know exactly how this fight is going to go after the first round. If Shevchenko is still standing, it’s a good sign for her. Nunes is 3-3 in fights that have gone past the first round in her career, with the latest win coming against Shevchenko (the other two came in 2009 and 2010).

Even in the third round of that fight, Shevchenko outstruck 17-3 and scored the takedown.

With a revised game plan that includes more early takedown attempts, Shevchenko has the slight advantage in this one. Expect her to stall for a decent part of the first round, ride the storm and take over the fight with a mixture of her counters and ground game.

If Nunes’ prior forays into the later rounds are any indication, it’s not out of the realm that Shevchenko should secure the finish by the fourth frame.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

UFC 213 Full Fight Card, Start Times & How To Watch

UFC 213 will go down live tonight (Sat. July 8, 2017) on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and will feature a pair of intense title bouts. In the co-main event of the evening, the UFC will crown an interim middleweight champion when No. 1-ranked Yoel Romero takes on young No. […]

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UFC 213 will go down live tonight (Sat. July 8, 2017) on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and will feature a pair of intense title bouts.

In the co-main event of the evening, the UFC will crown an interim middleweight champion when No. 1-ranked Yoel Romero takes on young No. 3-ranked Robert Whittaker. The winner is expected to take on current 185-pound champ Michael Bisping once he is ready to return to action after nursing an injury.

Our main event will see women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes make her second title defense when she takes on No. 1-ranked Valentina Shevchenko in a rematch from their initial meeting in March of last year, which “The Lioness” won via unanimous decision.

You can check out tonight’s full fight card, start time, and information on how to watch here below:

Main Card (PPV, 10 P.M. ET)

Women’s bantamweight title: (C) Amanda Nunes (135) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (134.5)

Interim middleweight title: Yoel Romero (185) vs. Robert Whittaker (184.5)

Heavyweight: Curtis Blaydes (257.5) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (248)

Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem (253.5) vs. Fabricio Werdum (239)

Lightweight: Jim Miller (155) vs. Anthony Pettis (156)

 

Preliminary Card (FS1, 8 P.M. ET)

Heavyweight: Travis Browne (247.5) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (241.5)

Welterweight: Brian Camozzi (170.5) vs. Chad Laprise (170)

Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert (184.5) vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos (186)

Welterweight: Jordan Mein (170) vs. Belal Muhammad (170)

 

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 P.M. ET)

Bantamweight: Rob Font (135) vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade (134)

Featherweight: Cody Stamann (145) vs. Terrion Ware (145)

Light heavyweight: James Bochnovic (201) vs. Trevin Giles (204)

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UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

If Amanda Nunes wants to be more than the woman who likely retired Ronda Rousey, she’ll need to defeat Valentina Shevchenko in the main event at UFC 213. 
The women’s bantamweight title will once again be on the line as the Lioness looks to defend…

If Amanda Nunes wants to be more than the woman who likely retired Ronda Rousey, she’ll need to defeat Valentina Shevchenko in the main event at UFC 213. 

The women’s bantamweight title will once again be on the line as the Lioness looks to defend her title for a second time against a familiar foe in Shevchenko. 

The champion and challenger have met once before. Nunes rode a hot start to a unanimous-decision victory in her first bout with the challenger, but a five-round affair has the potential for a different dynamic between the two. 

The main event is good, but the co-main event gives it a run for its money for best fight of the night. Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker meet in a battle for the interim middleweight title. 

It’s a card with plenty of intrigue as the two title fights are near toss-ups, and they set the tone for the rest of the card. Here’s a look at the complete lineup along with predictions for the biggest fights on the card. 

      

Main Card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)

  • Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko (for Women’s Bantamweight Title)
  • Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker (for Interim Middleweight Title)
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
  • Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum
  • Anthony Pettis vs. Jim Miller

Prelims (Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET)

  • Thiago de Lima Santos vs. Gerald Meerschaert
  • Chad Laprise vs. Brian Camozzi
  • Travis Browne vs. Oleksiy Oliynyk
  • Jordan Mein vs. Belal Muhammad

Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Rob Font vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
  • Cody Stamann vs. Terrion Ware
  • Trevin Giles vs. James Bochnovic

         

Predictions

Valentina Shevchenko is the New Women’s Bantamweight Champion

Nunes has looked like an unstoppable force in her last two fights. After submitting Miesha Tate in the first round to become the champion, she scored the biggest win of her career by brutally finishing Rousey in just 48 seconds. 

But the rules of engagement when fighting Nunes seem pretty clear at this point. She’s one of the best finishers in women’s MMA, but if a fighter can survive the opening salvo, she’s got a shot. 

Shevchenko is already one of the prime examples of that in Nunes career. In their first encounter, the Lioness easily won the first round and blitzed Shevchenko in the second, but  the latter started to gain some traction in the second round before outstriking Nunes 17-3 in the final frame, per Fight Metric

Even more concerning for the champion is that her bout against Shevchenko was her best performance in a fight that got out of the first round. Her other bouts that went past the first five minutes are knockout losses to Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano and a decision loss to Sarah D’Alelio. 

One thing to keep an eye on is just how many takedown attempts Nunes will attempt. In the first fight she did most of her damage on the ground but went 0-for-4 on takedown attempts in the final round. 

If Shevchenko can hang on through the opening round or two, her high-level striking should take over in the later rounds. It was her ability to generate power in the clinch that turned the fight in their first bout:

Nunes cardio may be improving, but Shevchenko still took over the fight in the final round of the three-round fight. She could easily be added to the list of first-round victims for Nunes, but if she isn’t, it’s her fight to lose. 

Prediction: Shevchenko via fourth-round submission.

        

Yoel Romero Takes Control of the Middleweight Division

With Michael Bisping clinging to his middleweight championship belt for dear life while sitting out for all of 2017 thus far, the UFC’s distinction that this is an interim title fight actually carries some weight. 

Whoever wins this fight all but guarantees they’ll be the first in line to fight the champ when he gets off the sideline. The winner of this fight will likely be favored when Bisping does make his return. 

The fight itself is an intriguing matchup. Whittaker has proved that he needs to be taken seriously when it comes to anyone in the middleweight division. Since moving up to middleweight from the 170-pound division, Whittaker has ripped off six-straight wins. 

Whittaker has got the job done with a pressure game that forces opponents to fold and enough power to put fighters away. He has scored back-to-back finishes in his last two fights and will look to continue that streak by fighting the fight on his terms. 

“My strength is definitely my stand-up ability; my stand-up ability helps me control the fight,” Whittaker said, per Darren Arthur of ESPN. “I definitely want to get in there and hopefully use that on him and push the fight to my angle and my edge and my advantage through my striking.”

However, pushing the pace also opens up holes for reactive takedowns. That’s something that Romero is more than happy to throw into the mix as an Olympic wrestler. The mat is definitely a place that Whittaker will be looking to avoid. 

Once on the ground, Romero’s size and power could be too much for Australian. 

Prediction: Romero via third-round TKO

       

Alistair Overeem Takes the Rubber Match Against Fabricio Werdum

Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum are more than just a little familiar with each other—they just can’t seem to get enough of fighting one another. The two aging heavyweights will square off for the third time on the main card, with the series all knotted up at one apiece. 

This fight might not have much of an impact on the title picture—both fighters have lost to current champion Stipe Miocic, but don’t tell Overeem that. He plans on pushing for a rematch with the champion after taking care of business against Werdum. 

“After I get my hand raised, I’m going to grab that mic, and I’m going to challenge Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight championship belt,”  the former Strikeforce star said, per Fernanda Prates and Ken Hathaway of MMAjunkie

With Overeem, the possibility of a knockout loss is always just one good strike away. Ten of his 15 career losses have come by way of knockout, but Werdum hasn’t knocked anyone out since Mark Hunt in 2014. 

It appears that Overeem is both motivated and has just a little more punch left in him than Werdum. That should be enough to make the difference in a bout between two of the biggest names in the division who have a score to settle. 

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

Video: UFC 213’s Co-Main Event Gets EA Sports UFC 2 Simulation Treatment

Before Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker do battle, a simulation via EA Sports UFC 2 has been released. EA Sports UFC 2 is a video game currently available on the PS4 and Xbox One. It was released back in March 2016. Romero and Whittaker are playable in the game. They’ll compete in the real world […]

Before Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker do battle, a simulation via EA Sports UFC 2 has been released. EA Sports UFC 2 is a video game currently available on the PS4 and Xbox One. It was released back in March 2016. Romero and Whittaker are playable in the game. They’ll compete in the real world […]

Georges St-Pierre Calls Out Michael Bisping For Massive Fall UFC

It’s been a long, confusing saga concerning longtime former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre’s octagon return. The legend, whom many consider to be one of the top three of all-time, has been out of fighting since he vacated the belt in the aftermath of a controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks in the main […]

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It’s been a long, confusing saga concerning longtime former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre’s octagon return.

The legend, whom many consider to be one of the top three of all-time, has been out of fighting since he vacated the belt in the aftermath of a controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks in the main event of November 2013’s UFC 167.

“Rush” teased a return repeatedly over the next four years, but that potential was seemingly realized when the French-Canadian superstar unveiled his intention to come back and face middleweight champion Michael Bisping at a weight class he had never fought at before.

A press conference, where Bisping played the perfect part of a drunken heel to St-Pierre’s usual clean-cut superhero fan favorite, was set up and given to fans days prior to March’s UFC 209. But while the UFC wanted the fight to go down this month, St-Pierre repeatedly insisted he couldn’t fight until after October at the earliest. When he did so publicly online, UFC President Dana White was quick to say that they would now pit Bisping against Yoel Romero.

Photo by Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports

There was a big problem with that plan, however, as Bisping was still healing from the knee surgery he had in the months after his first title defense, a close decision call over then-No. 4-ranked arch rival Dan Henderson. With a vast part of the MMA world calling for Bisping to defend his belt against the rightful challenger Romero, his injury paved a path for this Saturday’s Romero vs. Robert Whittaker interim title fight at UFC 213. White went on record again to say that St-Pierre would fight the winner of this month’s Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia bout at UFC 214.

We can take that with a grain of salt, of course, and it’s clear Bisping is holding out to not only get his knee healed up, but also to hang on to that elusive monster payday that comes with fighting St-Pierre in his return bout. He’s admitted as much, and as a prize fighter who’s paid his dues arguably more than any other UFC athlete in the promotion’s history, he deserves that. The timing is just bad, because he makes it seem like he’s ducking Romero – or maybe Whittaker – which, in a sense, he may be.

Today, news has come that he may just get his wish. According to a information from MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, “GSP” texted both “The Count” and White issuing a challenge to battle him at the UFC’s planned pay-per-view (PPV) event at Madison Square Garden on November 4:

“Michael, you should man up and fight me 11/4 in NY,” St-Pierre wrote. “I’m coming out of retirement to retire you. Dana [White], please make it happen.”

Regardless of if you agree with how St-Pierre has behaved during his comeback, he does have a strong point in that he is a legend coming out of retirement for what he thought was a fight versus Bisping, even if it is just because he views the longtime vet as the easiest path to becoming a two-division champ the quickest.

The UFC promised him and Bisping that fight, and no matter how many fans complained about it, they would obviously pay to watch what would be a monstrous title bout in a year when MMA and the UFC needs one more than perhaps any year in recent times. The mistake came when the promotion’s new ownership may have realized it and announced it with a presser early in the year even though St-Pierre had apparently told them he had an eye injury that kept him out of sparring until late fall.

Either way, however, the payday still looms and a fight with Romero or Whittaker just doesn’t have the same luster as facing an all-time legend – and a proven PPV superstar – in his long-awaited return. Are you ready to see this fight booked again?

Do you want to?

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